AFC South preview

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

Indianapolis Colts (12-4)

You’d think that winning a Super Bowl would get people to stick around — but it didn’t work out that way in Indianapolis. Thirty percent of the Colts’ starters have bailed since Super Bowl XLI. But the Colts could still be in the running for another title because they have the best quarterback in the NFL. Peyton Manning led the Colts to a 12-4 record in 2006 and was able to quash the notion that he couldn’t “win the big one.” While the Colts’ offense is top-notch, their defense is another story — especially their porous rush defense that allowed 5.3 yards per rush last year. The Colts will have a chance to repeat if they put lots of points on the board. It’s unlikely that they’ll get much help from their defense.

Biggest addition: Tony Ugoh

Biggest loss: LB Cato June

Circle your calendar: Dec. 9 @ Baltimore

Tennessee Titans (8-8)

Despite being ranked No. 27 in offense and dead last in defense, the Titans still managed to finish the year at 8-8 thanks to the play of Offensive Rookie of the Year Vince Young.

The Titans’ defensive woes are exacerbated by the suspension of All-Pro cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones who is out for the season. But the Titans signed a trio of cornerbacks that could improve their defense against the pass. Offensively, the Titans are going to look a lot different. While Young will continue to utilize his unique skill set at quarterback, Tennessee’s top rusher, Tra vis Henry, and top two receivers will not be back.

Biggest addition: CB Nick Harper

Biggest loss: CB “Pacman” Jones

Circle your calendar: Sept. 24 @ New Orleans

Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)

The Jacksonville Jaguars have something going for them in 2007 that eluded them last year: health. Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who has missed a combined 15 games over the past two years is finally ready to go, although he might not end up keeping the job. The Jaguars’ are good at both moving the ball on the ground and stopping the rush. In 2006, they had the No. 3 rush offense and No. 4 rush defense. Their rushing proficiency, as well as a new offensive coordinator, Dick Koetter, could serve them well in the upcoming season.

Biggest addition: FS Reggie Nelson

Biggest loss: TE Kyle Brady

Circle your calendar: Dec. 9 Carolina

Houston Texans (6-10)

Now that the endlessly disappointing David Carr is out of the picture, the Texans — who are still struggling with expansionist blues — are at least moving forward with a different quarterback. The Texans also acquired a fresh running back in Ahman Green, who’s no longer in his prime but is known as a tireless worker. The Texans seem primed to put their dim past behind them.

Biggest addition: RB Ahman Green

Biggest loss: QB David Carr

Circle your calendar: Nov. 25 @ Cleveland